The Role of DNA Methylation in Cancer
The malignant transformation of normal cells is driven by both genetic and epigenetic changes. With the advent of next-generation sequencing and large-scale multinational consortium studies, it has become possible to profile the genomes and epigenomes of thousands of primary tumors from nearly every cancer type. From these genome-wide studies, it became clear that the dynamic regulation of DNA methylation is a critical epigenetic mechanism of cancer initiation, maintenance, and progression. Proper control of DNA methylation is not only crucial for regulating gene transcription, but its broader consequences include maintaining the integrity of the genome and modulating immune response. Here, we describe the aberrant DNA methylation changes that take place in cancer and how they contribute to the disease phenotype. Further, we highlight potential clinical implications of these changes in the context of prognostic and diagnostic biomarkers, as well as therapeutic targets.
KeywordsAcute Myeloid Leukemia Methylation Level Promoter Methylation MGMT Expression Acute Lymphoid Leukemia
Acute myeloid leukemia
CpG island methylator phenotype
DNA methyltransferase inhibitor
The Cancer Genome Atlas
Tumor suppressor genes
The work in the Liang laboratory has been supported in part by the generous contribution of George and Vicky Joseph.
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